Govts, leaders commit to cutting short-lived climate pollutants 

UN climate change conference in BonnThe key commitments made by sector are reducing Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 30 to 50 per cent from refrigerant servicing within 10 years, HFCs are gases typically used in cooling and refrigeration with Global Warming Potential (GWP) hundreds to thousands of times that of CO2.
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GOVERNMENTS and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition have committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

At the Focus Event on SCLPS under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda at the recently concluded COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.

They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs), which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).

Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

Cutting back these gases also delivers high gains in energy efficiency and can deliver rapid gains in reducing the emissions footprint of highly-polluting industries through use of new and innovative technology.

SLCPs stay in the atmosphere for a shorter time than carbon dioxide (CO2), anywhere from a few days to a decade, but they have a global warming potential several times greater than CO2. Reducing these emissions also reduces the way they disrupt rainfall patterns and slows the melting of glaciers.

The two co-chairs of the CCAC, Hanne Bjurstrøm (Climate Envoy, Norway) and Marcelo Mena (Vice Minister of Environment, Chile) detail the progress achieved by CCAC initiatives so far and future commitments in various sectors, such green freight, municipal solid waste and alternatives to HFCs.

The key commitments made by sector are reducing Hydrofluorocarbons HFCs by 30 to 50 per cent from refrigerant servicing within 10 years, HFCs are gases typically used in cooling and refrigeration with Global Warming Potential (GWP) hundreds to thousands of times that of CO2. The phase-out of high-GWP HFCs from air conditioning alone will not only avoid the equivalent of 100 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2050, but can also lead to more energy efficient air conditioners and related cuts in CO2 emissions.

“SLCPs not only produce a strong global warming effect, they contribute significantly to more than 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution. Reducing SLCPs can prevent approximately 3 million premature deaths a year,” said Dr Maria Neira, Director Public Health and Environment Department at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP presidencies, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat. It aims to strengthen climate action throughout 2015, in Paris in December and well beyond through: mobilizing robust global action towards low carbon and resilient societies; providing enhanced support to existing initiatives, such as those launched during the NY SG Climate summit in September 2014; and mobilizing new partners and providing a platform for the visibility of their actions, commitments and results in the run up to COP21.

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1 Comment
  • amador kester

    Methane gas is even 100 times more toxic in climate change related anthropomorphic effects than co2. Yet it attracts less attention. Equally the need to galvanize masses in the tropics to simply plant billions of economic trees that absorb co2 and give out oxygen plus precipitating a horticultural economic empowerment boom was not significantly recommended at the last cop conference apparently

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